The Voice of Alex Murdaugh in a Los Angeles Sexual Abuse Case Revealed at the Scene of the Robertson-Walker-Johnson Shooting
Since 2017 the name Harvey Weinstein has been practically synonymous with “sexual predator.” In the years since the wave of accusations against the former movie mogul, it has even been argued, as a defense, that other serial abusers are not as bad as Mr. Weinstein.
If you are given a chance to serve on a jury in a trial, it’s not likely to matter what Mr. Weinstein’s notoriety is. Every case has to be decided on its own facts. And it is a hotly disputed question how much prosecutors are allowed to disclose to the jury about a defendant’s past when, like Mr. Weinstein, he has been accused of sex crimes. That question should be looked at more closely following Mr. Weinstein’s conviction on Monday of rape and other crimes in Los Angeles.
There are limitations that have their limits. Sexual assault trials are different from other trials because of their differences and must be reflected in the rules of evidence.
Prosecutors have sought to place Murdaugh at the scene of the killings, in part with with testimony from several witnesses who said Alex Murdaugh’s voice can be heard on a video that authorities say Paul Murdaugh started recording on his phone at 8:44 p.m., shortly before authorities believe the killings happened.
A law enforcement expert has testified Paul’s video appeared to have been recorded around the kennels, where Paul’s and Maggie’s bodies would be found. Murdaugh has maintained in interviews with law enforcement he was not at the kennels before he found the bodies. Police said that he called for help at 10:48 pm.
In the footage, three different voices could be heard. Dove did not know the voices, but he could tell that they were different.
Rogan Gibson, who described himself as a close friend of Paul’s and the Murdaughs as being like a second family, told investigators shortly after the killings that along with the voices of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, he was “99% sure” the third person heard was Alex Murdaugh. Last November, he told investigators that he was 100% sure, and repeated that in court Wednesday.
Paul Murdaugh called Gibson the night of the shooting, at 8:40 p.m., to ask if something was wrong with Gibson’s dog, Cash, which was in a kennel at the Murdaugh property. The two tried to hold a video call so that Gibson could see the dog, but the reception was not good enough, Gibson testified. Paul Murdaugh told him he would take a video of the dog and send it to him if the FaceTime call didn’t work, Gibson said, but he never received the footage.
On the day the court released body camera videos from the night his wife and son were killed, Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial began with jurors hearing about autopsy evidence.
The defense attorney said in his opening statement that the video would show a normal discussion between Murdaugh and his wife. Paul is “very happy,” Harpootlian claimed. “Nobody’s down there threatening him. Daddy is not pulling out a shotgun and killing him.”
The June 10 civil hearing was only one of several hearings, according to the defense. Murdaugh faces 99 charges for various financial crimes – but those charges will be adjudicated in a separate case and are unrelated to the murders.
Murdaugh called 911 the night of the killings to report he’d found his wife and son shot dead at the family’s home in Islandton, South Carolina – a property known as Moselle.
Dove testified that the phone show multiple missed calls from her husband over the course of an hour, along with evidence it had switched to portrait mode. That is an indication that the phone was held in someones hand, according to the expert. The final call was not made before 10:00 p.m.
In his opening statement last week, Waters said that Murdaugh was going to visit his mom in South Carolina before texting his wife that he was going.
Murdaugh and the Loss of a Family Member after the Florida Shootings in June 2021: When the Phone swept off
The display was turned off at 8:51 p.m. Dove said that at 8:54 p.m., the orientation was changed from landscape to landscape, which caused the phone to be moved and the camera to fail to locate the face in an unsuccessful attempt to find it.
Dove said the calls would appear to have been deleted and that there wasn’t a way to know who deleted them or who was responsible.
Dove said the only way to remove calls from the log would be to do so manually, and a gap like that would indicate that.
Additionally, Murdaugh was in the same group chat as his wife when relatives were texting about his dying father, Dove said Wednesday. Dove said evidence shows Murdaugh did not read the messages until after he told investigators about his concern for his father.
For one, the chief financial officer of his law firm testified she had confronted Murdaugh about missing funds on the morning of June 7, 2021, hours before the killings. The internal investigation into the funds was put off after the murders.
The CFO of the firm that was formerly known as PMPED was called to testify on Thursday morning, without the jury present as Judge Newman considered whether to allow the testimony about Murdaugh’s alleged schemes to be admitted.
Seckinger said that in May 2021, the firm realized that they didn’t receive a fee check stemming from a settlement agreed to by Murdaugh and Wilson.
Seckinger told Murdaugh he needed to prove to her he had not received money from them, after confronting him on June 7.
At the time Maggie and Paul were killed, Murdaugh was facing a lawsuit from Beach’s family. There was a June 10, 2021 hearing in the civil case that could reveal Murdaugh’s financial problems.
The conversation occurred 3 months after the deaths of Murdaugh’s wife and son and just after the law firm said it had discovered extensive financial wrongdoing.
The firm decided to not confront Murdaugh over the missing money, despite the fact the June 10 hearing had been canceled.
Seckinger said that Alex was distraught and upset after the killings. “And nobody wanted to harass him about nothing that we thought was really missing, when we had several months till the end of the year to clear it up. So we were not going to harass him at that point in time.”
Murdaugh’s case against a South Carolina attorney general for white-collar theft and fraud: Just two areas in Waters’ case
According to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, Murdaugh, who was disbarred amid a mountain of allegations of white-collar theft and fraud, faces 99 charges stemming from 19 grand jury indictments, including allegedly defrauding his clients and former law firm of nearly $9 million.
For the defense, that evidence amounts to little more than “speculation” and “conjecture,” attorney Dick Harpootlian argued. They have shown that Murdaugh has a great relationship with his family and ridiculed the prosecution for focusing on irrelevant financial misdeeds.
But Creighton Waters of the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office – which is prosecuting the case due to the Murdaugh family’s decades-old ties with the local solicitor’s office – indicated to the judge the state hoped to focus on “just a few areas” most closely connected to the case.
There are two things that are related to this crime. Waters said the confrontation was over missing fees that had been percolating for a while. The pending hearing in the boat case is number two.
Can you think of any reason? Waters referred to the defense questioning of a friend of Paul who was asked if he could remember why Murdaugh might have killed him. The friend said he could not.
He has a stellar series of events going on in his life. The perfect storm that was arriving for this man on June 7, is relevant to the jury’s consideration.
The prosecution’s case heard in camera Thursday illustrated Murdaugh’s alleged transgressions went far beyond the missing $792,000 Seckinger confronted Murdaugh about the morning prior to the murders.
Waters separately took the law firm CFO to task for many instances in which he allegedly misappropriated funds from the settlements in cases he handled. The Seckinger verified documents from cases all day long on Thursday, testifying that Murdaugh stole millions from the law firm and clients. She said that the firm was responsible for paying back what Murdaugh had stolen.
Murdaugh’s best friend testified that he was running a drug addiction campaign to get money for his housekeeper’s sons
Seckinger said the firm decided not to announce Alex’s resignation until the beginning of the following week, because they thought he would resign.
Prosecutors accuse Murdaugh of committing the killings to distract attention from a series of alleged illicit schemes he was running to avoid “personal legal and financial ruin,” per court filings.
An attorney who said he was Alex Murdaugh’s best friend testified at his murder trial Thursday that Murdaugh admitted he had a drug addiction and had been stealing money from his law firm and clients.
“They’ve got a whole lot more evidence about financial misconduct than they do about evidence of guilt in a murder case. And that’s what this is all about,” defense lawyer Jim Griffin said last week.
Murdaugh offered to file a claim against his insurance company to get money for his housekeeper’s sons, Michael Satterfield testified. Satterfield didn’t know Murdaugh had collected over $4 million in settlements, and he didn’t see any money.
Wilson also testified he spoke with Murdaugh on the phone at 9:11 p.m., 9:20 p.m. and 9:53 p.m. on June 7, 2021, around the time of the murders. Wilson stated that nothing sounded out of the ordinary in the short conversations.
The son of Murdaugh’s former housekeeper testified about being defrauded by Murdaugh.
Satterfield testified that his family heard about the settlement from media reports. He said Murdaugh said it was still making progress and to be ready to settle by the year’s end.
Murdaugh’s actions after a boat wreck: Witnesses and a jury in a Colleton County sheriff’s deputy
The CEO of the local bank testified that Murdaugh had his account overdrawn by about $350,000. Palmetto State Bank CEO Jan Malinowski said that Murdaugh had a total of $4.2 million in debt.
Tinsley was asked about the lawsuit on Thursday. He testified that he was hoping for $10 million from Murdaugh, but he was told that he may only be able to get $1 million. Tinsley was not cross-examined Thursday and is expected to resume his testimony Friday morning.
“We weren’t going to go in there and harass him about money when we were worried about his mental state and the fact that his family had been killed,” the CFO, Jeanne Seckinger, testified.
He had a number of financial crimes and a murder-for-hire plot, among other things, when his law firm confronted him again about misappropriated funds.
After the jury saw the video in January, it is for the first time that the public can see Murdaugh actions after he called the cops.
In one video, Colleton County sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Greene encounters Murdaugh, who is dressed in a white T-shirt and cargo shorts, outside the property’s kennels. As Green arrives, Murdaugh, standing near the bodies – which are blurred in the video and are situated yards apart – tells him “because of the scene, I did go get a gun and bring it down here.”
The deputy asked where the gun was and Murdaugh told him it was leaning against his vehicle. The deputy checks Murdaugh’s shirt before talking further.
“This is a long story. My son was in a boat wreck … months back. Murdaugh says that he’s been getting threats. Most of it has been benign. We didn’t take serious, you know, he’s been getting like punched. Um, I, I know that’s what it is.”
When he was asked if he was with the pair, Murdaugh replied that he had left the house to visit his mother who was about 15 minutes away.
Multiple Shots in the Eyes of a Murdaugh Man: Bethe Ansatz and Associated Physical Effects in Maggie’s Brain and Autopsy
Also Monday, under questioning from the prosecution, Ellen Riemer, a pathologist at the Medical University of South Carolina, gave graphic testimony Monday about the injuries suffered by Maggie and Paul and their autopsy results.
Alex Murdaugh cried when Riemer detailed the extent of the wounds to his son and wife, and dabbed his eyes and clenched his jaw. He shook as he listened to the things they were saying.
Riemer said that the victim was shot at least four times with an assault rifle. The first two shots were fired from the front while Maggie was standing, Riemer said; one went through her abdomen and the other went through the inside of her left thigh.
“I don’t see anything on his hands that would indicate he had his hands up to his face in anticipation of the injury that was about to happen,” Riemer testified. “That first shot, his arm was down, and I don’t see any evidence of injury to his hands from the second.”
The next shot went through the left side of her face after going through her chest. Riemer claimed that it was related to the first two shots and that she had her head bent over. This wound would have been immediately fatal, she said. Riemer said the last shot was to the back of the head.
The Murdaugh Case: Why a Canine Loved Family Man Would Abjure His Mother and One of Their Dogs? An Observation from the Islandton Kennel
Tuesday is when the remaining jurors will be tested. The judge agreed with prosecutors and defense attorneys that the proceedings should be delayed, but they wanted the jurors to wear masks.
“Jurors want science, jurors want DNA, jurors want something that’s persuasive,” Azari said. “But because (prosecutors) lack it … their focus is now on the tenuous motive and the lies after the fact, but neither of those things … substitute the evidence that they need.”
Legal experts told CNN that the lack of direct evidence makes it harder to convict.
The case will be more difficult now that it has been made more difficult. “But at some point, if the prosecutors have enough evidence that they can put together that story, and show motive and opportunity, it can certainly rise to the level needed to get a conviction.
The video focuses on one of their dogs and appears to have been recorded at the kennels at their family home in Islandton. In the background, there are different voices in the footage and family friends said that the voices were those of Alex, Paul, and Mags.
The prosecution has used that Snapchat video to try to disprove his assertion that he was asleep, and other testimony has also cut into his claims about how long he had been with his mother.
Finally, state prosecutors have tried to put forth an adequate explanation of why Murdaugh – described as a loving and devoted family man – would slaughter his wife and son.